Youth Criminal Justice Act (S.C. 2002, c. 1)

Act current to 2015-11-16 and last amended on 2015-07-19. Previous Versions


Principles and Objectives

Marginal note:Declaration of principles

 The following principles apply in this Part in addition to the principles set out in section 3:

  • (a) extrajudicial measures are often the most appropriate and effective way to address youth crime;

  • (b) extrajudicial measures allow for effective and timely interventions focused on correcting offending behaviour;

  • (c) extrajudicial measures are presumed to be adequate to hold a young person accountable for his or her offending behaviour if the young person has committed a non-violent offence and has not previously been found guilty of an offence; and

  • (d) extrajudicial measures should be used if they are adequate to hold a young person accountable for his or her offending behaviour and, if the use of extrajudicial measures is consistent with the principles set out in this section, nothing in this Act precludes their use in respect of a young person who

    • (i) has previously been dealt with by the use of extrajudicial measures, or

    • (ii) has previously been found guilty of an offence.

Marginal note:Objectives

 Extrajudicial measures should be designed to

  • (a) provide an effective and timely response to offending behaviour outside the bounds of judicial measures;

  • (b) encourage young persons to acknowledge and repair the harm caused to the victim and the community;

  • (c) encourage families of young persons — including extended families where appropriate — and the community to become involved in the design and implementation of those measures;

  • (d) provide an opportunity for victims to participate in decisions related to the measures selected and to receive reparation; and

  • (e) respect the rights and freedoms of young persons and be proportionate to the seriousness of the offence.

Warnings, Cautions and Referrals

Marginal note:Warnings, cautions and referrals
  •  (1) A police officer shall, before starting judicial proceedings or taking any other measures under this Act against a young person alleged to have committed an offence, consider whether it would be sufficient, having regard to the principles set out in section 4, to take no further action, warn the young person, administer a caution, if a program has been established under section 7, or, with the consent of the young person, refer the young person to a program or agency in the community that may assist the young person not to commit offences.

  • Marginal note:Saving

    (2) The failure of a police officer to consider the options set out in subsection (1) does not invalidate any subsequent charges against the young person for the offence.

Marginal note:Police cautions

 The Attorney General, or any other minister designated by the lieutenant governor of a province, may establish a program authorizing the police to administer cautions to young persons instead of starting judicial proceedings under this Act.